How Kakande turned farming into a money milling venture

Albert Kakande making fertilisers. Photos / Joan Salmon

What you need to know:

  • Albert Kakande’s first customer as a farming consultant was Grace Kabuye, a maize farmer in Bukasa Village, Kituntu sub-county, Mpigi District. Initially, Kabuye was practising agriculture blindly so the journey started with calculating expected yields per acre, using the right seed, right spacing and right timing. 

When he walked out of formal employment 10 years ago, Albert Kakande opted to start farming. That was because he was looking for value for his time, something he had not seen as an employee. He also needed equal growth measure for his effort, which he believed farming would give him. His love for agriculture and science were the major driving factors because with that, Kakande was not taking a nose dive into the unknown.

How he started

However, enjoying commendable yields meant using inorganic inputs. With time, Kakande realised increasing trends of diminishing soil, plant and human health. “That was dealing a blow to the dreams that brought me here and I could not sit and hope that things would get better. As such, I started examining what could be done in order to bring back soil health, especially in Mende Sub-county of Wakiso District where I reside,” he shares.

It was here, in 2019, that Kakande’s idea of biological soil feeding (organic fertilisers) was birthed. It would be a year later that his organic inputs production journey would start.

Shaky start

While he speaks with such mastery now, Kakande says the start was shaky, a matter of trial and error, with experiments here and there. “With time, I developed a wider scope of knowledge which I shared with fellow farmer groups, and later networked with agro based NGOs,” he shares. We teamed up to form Mende, Masulita and Gombe  (MEMAGO agroecology group), to champion sustainable organic agriculture practices starting with communities in Wakiso District.

What made this journey plausible was the knowledge he had gathered on running and managing agriculture as a business. Thereafter, Kakande then started doing experiments on his own fields. With time, the referrals starting trickling in.

First customer

Kakande’s first customer as a farming consultant was Grace Kabuye, a maize farmer in Bukasa Village, Kituntu Sub-county, Mpigi District. Initially, Kabuye was practising agriculture blindly so the journey started with calculating expected yields per acre, using the right seed, right spacing and right timing. Kakande also taught him how to eliminate any unproductive physical feature from his field such as anthills, and shrubs which would compromise targeted yields by reducing productive space.

“I also taught him that using genuine fertilisers can exponentially increase yield and thus income, as opposed to the usual random cultivation methods where the sowed seed will entirely depend on nature for survival,” says Kakande.  Impressed by Kakande’s knowledge, Kabuye later became a prominent user of his bio fertilisers.

Kakande and some of his rabbits. 

There is a lot to learn from one’s first customer and the lessons Kakande took away were how to cost the consultancy service. “For instance, at first, I wanted to give him free consultancy but later re-thought and charged him Shs100,000,” Kakande shares.

He also learnt the importance of assigning value to time and expertise because he came to appreciate that agricultural consultancy is a serious job that tasks the brain to think for suitable solutions to farmers’ problems.

“I then decided that it should not be offered at a laughable fee thus hiking it to fit my efforts. Today, I charge between Shs300,000 and Shs500,000 depending on how far the farm is,” he says.

After dealing with several customers, both individual and groups, Kakande now uses the cost-benefit analysis to price his products and services. “In this mode, I will calculate the input required in order to obtain a targeted output. That is how much money I will need to produce a given unit of fertiliser versus how much money we expect to earn per unit output,” he shares.


While Kakande’s home is situated in Nkoowe, 13 miles on Hoima Road, for his consultancy work and farming input production, he farms in different areas. “For example, I grow short term horticulture crops such as watermelons and pumpkins in Butambala, maize and beans in Nakaseke and sometime cassava,” he shares.

Save referrals, Kakande gets customers through social media, exhibitions, referrals from radio and TV talk shows on which he is hosted to teach farmers.


When the trials seemed to give tangible results, Kakande looked to other organic trainers to concretise what his experiments had borne. “I have had several trainings on organic agriculture, through the Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture in Eastern Africa and the Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture, as a Multiplier (organic farmer trainer). I have also trained as a master facilitator (master trainer),” he shares. Through networking and consistent practice of organic agriculture, Kakande had these training fully catered for by the training organisations. “I have improved  my agro-ecological expertise/scientific knowledge on organic agriculture, the trainings have also improved my skills in farmer training. I have also become better in advocacy for agroecology practices,” he says.


Dealing with farmers and farmer groups, Kakande is given a push to keep advocating for organic farming. As such, he has trained several farmer groups on organic agriculture practices. “Most are now able to make their organic agricultural inputs on farm,” he says.

That joy is multiplied when he hears farmers such as Kabuye, Suzan Birungi, Janet Rwihandagaza and many others testifying about increased yields.


His innovation journey has had several hiccups such as the long and costly journey of certification of organic inputs before they are accepted for public consumption by state authorities. There is a lack of adequate mechanization to prime mass production.

Farmers are also not taking up organic farm inputs owing to their bulk that does not endear itself to farmers. “They are accustomed to using small quantities of inorganic farm inputs, yet organic inputs may require double the amount. Owing to that, they are discouraged to adopt organic inputs,” Kakande says.

Some of Kakande’s products on display.

He is also saddened when farmers they have shown and educated on the dangers of use of agrichemicals, still go ahead and use them.


Kakande started the organic journey with a wish of being a champion of promoting best agroecology practices which will transform and enhance soil health. “While that is happening slowly, I believe that in a few years’ time, the efforts will restore the farming train to its original rail,” he shares.

He believes that the dream will further be enhanced as the knowledge on the benefits of consuming organically grown food is embraced and enhances people’s health. “We also look forward to increased uptake of our organic innovations,” he shares.


As far as expenses are concerned, sourcing raw materials from out grower farmers is still costly, especially collecting rabbit manure, and bio slurry. Other costs of production include packaging materials, and fuel to run the pelletizer machine. Currently, Kakande is looking at producing solid fertilisers and these include:

MEMAGold Jimusa (pellet fertiliser), a combination of compost slurry (the substance that remains after making biogas from cow dung), and rabbit waste. “While many may use compost slurry in liquid form, we look at the issues of transportation and handling ease thus making a sold and pelleted fertiliser.”

Bio-char where different sets of plant residues are burnt but each material is carefully selected to produce a desired nutrient. For example, for nitrogen, Tithonian (ekimyula), caliandra, legumes (beans, peas), any kind of dry manure is used. Potassium is sourced from dry peelings such as bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes, maize stalks (they also have phospherous), maize cob (it also has magnesium, prosperous and manganese). “We combine these materials and burn them under carbonised settings with limited oxygen to get char. At this point, we have carbon which the soil needs for better production. These ingredients also give us more soil nutrients such as iron,” he shares.

Bokashi, is an easy fertiliser to make and serves two purposes because it is a complete fertiliser but is also used to nurture microbes (they are responsible for breaking down food, fighting off diseases in the soil). To make this, we use coffee husks, clay soil (alternatively, you can use good soil commonly known as black soil), molasses, manure, maize or rice bran, yeast, charcoal dust, ash and water. The process is that yeast, water and molasses are mixed in one drum. Then on bare ground, one lays coffee husks and sprinkles the mixture, then the loam/clay soil and sprinkle the mixture, followed by any form of dry manure then mixture sprinkling. That is followed by charcoal dust, then a layer of bran, the ash. That is day one. “If you still have the materials, you can repeat the staking starting from the husks but only go up by one metre for easy handling. This mixture is supposed to create a lot of heat but it should not be exposed to heat higher than 55 degrees Celsius. On day two, you will mix the ingredients, as you would sand and cement and this is done in the morning and evening. After mixing, you sprinkle the liquid to lower the temperature as well as add molasses as these provide energy to the microbes responsible for the breakdown. To avoid rain, you provide shelter though not tightly to allow oxygen to flow through. The heat produced reduces by day five and we leave it to cool for 10 more days. Then the fertiliser is complete. This is mixed with the garden where one wants to plant,” he explains.

Kakande also makes pesticides from tephrozia (muluuku), phytolacca (oluwoko), neem tree, pepper, garlic and table vinegar.